Professor Nieto will reflect on her life as a teacher, curriculum developer, mentor, ethnic studies instructor, researcher, and professor of teacher education to draw a number of significant lessons about public education and its future for the most vulnerable students as well as for the nation.
Dr. Sonia Nieto has devoted her professional life to questions of diversity, equity, and social justice in education. A native of Brooklyn, New York, she taught at the intermediate and elementary levels before moving on to her first position in higher education as an instructor in the Puerto Rican and Latino Studies Department at Brooklyn College. She received a doctoral degree with specializations in curriculum, multicultural education, and bilingual education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. After working for the Massachusetts Department of Education for a year, she accepted a faculty position at her alma mater where she remained for 26 years, retiring as a full professor.
Professor Nieto’s research focuses on multicultural education, teacher education, and the education of students of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, topics on which she continues to write and speak. Among her written or edited works are the Teachers College Press publications Why We Teach Now (2015), The Light in Their Eyes (2010), Why We Teach (2005), and What Keeps Teachers Going? (2003). Other publications include the best-selling Affirming Diversity (1992), featured in a 2015 online exhibit of the Museum of Education, was also selected as one of the books that helped define the field of education in the 20th century. She has also published dozens of journal articles and book chapters. Her memoir, Brooklyn Dreams: My Life in Public Education, will be published by the Harvard Education Press in 2015.